American Black Film Festival Goes Virtual Amid Pandemic (Exclusive)

Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige will serve as ambassador for the Aug. 21-30 online edition, reset from an original in-person festival in Miami Beach this October.

The 24th annual American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach is headed online from Aug. 21 to 30 this year, organizers ABFF Ventures said on Thursday.

The virtual edition, to be hosted at ABFF.com, will feature screenings of indie Black cinema, studio premieres, conversations and panels, in addition to business-of-entertainment seminars and digital networking events. The in-person American Black Festival in Miami Beach was originally set to run over five days from Oct. 21 to 25.

Most of the programming for the online edition will be offered for free, and Mary J. Blige will serve as this year's festival ambassador, as previously announced.

"While we will surely miss being with our ABFF community in Miami Beach this year and connecting in person, what truly binds us together is our shared commitment to ensure inclusion in Hollywood and sustaining a place of inspiration for diverse storytellers. We will persevere through this year and end up a stronger community on the other side of this crisis." said ABFF Ventures CEO Jeff Friday in a statement.

The ABFF added it will use the 2020 edition as a "platform for social change in response to the scourge of racial injustice in our country, as well as educate and support its community in an effort to help in its recovery from the coronavirus."